Friendship redefined

What’s friendship to you? How do you differentiate a friend from a best friend? What are the things that matter and don’t matter in friendship?

I am pretty sure the answer varies from one person to another but can we agree on some common grounds to any friendship: a level of trust, some comfort, a feeling of safety maybe?

Well…. No, I don’t think we can even agree on that! Friendship is a very complicated matter that evolves constantly. I have learnt this from my four year old. I took her to her gym class today. She always loves to go but on this particular day, she was even more eager, because she wanted to see her friend.

“What friend?” I asked. I had no idea who she was talking about.

“My friend! The little girl!” Phew!! At least, we were not talking about a date, or anything… But I felt bad I was so clueless. I have been watching her gym class every week and I never even noticed she had made a friend.  “Mommy does not know who you are talking about.” What was wrong with me? Had I been so blind to my daughter’s interactions with others.

“Did you guys play together?” Maybe I could get a few clues as to who she was talking about…

“No!” This was becoming very confusing.

“Oh! What did you do then?”

“Nothing” This conversation seemed to be going nowhere…

“So why do you say she is your friend?”

“Because. She is” Silly me! Of course!

My thorough interrogation revealed that my daughter does indeed have a very good friend at the gym, whose name she does not know. But why would that even matter? Hey?!

So in order to clear the confusion, I drew a chart of friendships and their main characteristics, depending on your age. Not to brag, but I think I pretty much nailed it…

Friendship characteristics



Four years old

Level of support expected A friend is a shoulder to cry on A friend will defend me on the playground None. They might not be my friend anymore in five minutes
Level of confidence I can tell EVERYTHING to my friends. They won’t betray me I am not talking about who I have a crush on. They will for sure repeat it to their other friends… Zero. I will repeat everything they say to me OR I won’t listen to any of it
How much will you give for your friends? Everything. I am here for them They can have my old gum if they want… Nothing. Everything that’s mine is mine! And I’ll cry if they try to take it
Things you need to know about your friends Nothing. They are my friends Favorite color, favorite game, favorite movie Nothing. Not even their name
Things you need to have in common Nothing. Difference in opinions and tastes are healthy to keep a good balance Everything. We even have to dress the same Nothing. We don’t even need to be friends
What you expect from your friends Reciprocity: I watch your back you watch my back To be cool and athletic They don’t touch my stuff but they let me play with all their stuff
What makes a friend a best friend True commitment and total trust Playing the same video games Knowing him / her for more than two minutes



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